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St. Jude, the Patron Saint of …Substance Abusers?

By Mark Scheeren
Baldwin Research Institute

In America we have a serious problem. As one might expect from the title of this article, that problem would seem to be alcoholism and/or drug addiction. We see the face of substance abuse every day; the tragedies, the wrecked and warped lives on our tv sets, hear about it on the radio, or see it on blogs spread all over the internet. The struggles to stop using drugs, the relapses back to drink, and the sensationalized final loss of ultimate control are constantly displayed for all to see. It has gone so far that it has become acceptable to pay people to have their wretched, crushed lives recorded for primetime tv in docudrama shows such as ‘intervention’ and the like. But the truth is this; it is not alcoholism or drug addiction that are tearing people’s lives apart right before our very eyes. No, underlying that destructive activity is a deep and reverent belief system that is the cause of such poor behavior. Without this belief, the damage created by alcohol and drug abuse would drop precipitously. The belief is this: that these inert substances (alcohol and drugs) are more powerful than the free will that God has placed in every one of us. That somehow God screwed up and made us with a faulty and limited sense of ourselves and when alcohol and/or drugs enter the temple, well… we are a slave to it, and always will be.

The problem is not the use and abuse of substances. Those activities have been a part of most cultures worldwide for millennia. It is the more modern belief system characterized by the idea that these habits cannot be broken once they are created; that separates today’s view from that of even a century ago where choice and consequences were the prevailing thoughts on alcohol and drug consumption. In those days we had control over ourselves and our actions. For the last seventy years our American belief system with respect to substance abuse has become contaminated with ideas that are counter to common sense. The so called experts would have even the most religiously devout substance abuser believe they cannot fight the battle and win for good. That somehow this “disease” (which by the way has never been scientifically proven to even exist) will have them beat for life. This belief system leaves out the possibility that God has built within us a power of choice and freewill that is stronger than anything that can be thrown at it. Just ask survivors of the concentration camps of any of the wars in the last seventy years whether the human will can overcome anything. Or what about the cancer victim who overcame the odds after the doctors told them they had a month to live, yet today are cured and living productive, happy lives. Can it be true that alcohol and drugs are a more profoundly destructive and powerful force than those events! Talking to the millions of people who once were “addicted” and now live normal productive lives without any treatment whatsoever throws that theory out of the window.

No, it is not the use and misuse of these substances, but rather it is our cultural belief that they have ultimate power over us. Furthering this harmful belief is the next stop in the intellectual road to bondage that states that not only are you sick, but that you must admit defeat by proclaiming yourself “powerless” over the inert substance as a means to find God and get well. This backwards logic sounds good, even to the devoutly religious: “Surrender, and you will find strength.” But, unlike surrendering to God, (who, by the way created the Universe) surrendering your freewill and life over to “powerlessness” and to alcohol just furthers the victim mentality. And, it gives more excuses for future relapse. Nothing has contributed more to deaths resulting from overuse of alcohol and drugs than the consistent belief that the self-imposed habit cannot be broken, permanently. The belief is so pervasive that the person using drugs and alcohol abusively has no control and that the spirit within is wilted to a non-functioning dormancy and finally Gods entire human creation is held hostage by the new agent that has entered the body. Never has such a modern culture held such a deep belief in the powerlessness of people who choose to drink and/or drug to excess.

America not only believes in this non-truth, but has built an entire industry around it. The rehabilitation industry uses this belief as one of the fundamental tenets to bring the person back to health. What a contradiction. It certainly sounds good, “Surrender to the disease and freedom will follow,” the modern therapist will say. But freedom does not come to those who believe in giving up to substances.

What has happened to common sense? What happened to the belief that people must have responsibility for their actions, and the consequences of those actions? What happened to our fellow Christian brethren who have always had ...

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1 - 10 of 15 Comments

  1. TT
    3 months ago

    Please pray for Carson, who has a drug addiction. The family is worried and stressed about his well being. Please intercede to God, to save him - free him from this world of drug addiction and all that it intails. Also, for his family who is struggling through it. May God be with us all.

  2. Mary Lynn reichelt
    3 months ago

    I pray for all the mothers whose children our struggling with addiction... And I pray for their children.... St Jude help us and pray for us

  3. Charlie D
    7 months ago

    With God's grace and mercy I was able to overcome 36 years of drug and alcohol addiction. I have 9.5 years of clean/dry time. I still have a daily fight to remain clean and sober.

    11 months ago


  5. Tina
    11 months ago

    Thank you Lex. Addiction is a disease recognized by the center for disease control. Today I am blessed and grateful that God created me as an alcoholic because it has provided me the chance to work daily on recovery and teaching others through my experience, strength and hope. The writer of this article should be ashamed for saying people just need to break their bad habits. Its not that simple and when you get cancer, leukemia, chrons disease, kidney failure or any other disease perhaps the writer of this article should have broke his bad habits to prevent getting one of those diseases. Oh wait? Thats doesn't work that way.

  6. Vera O Farrell
    1 year ago

    Hi am desperate for my son of 29 to find release of addiction to alcohol and cocaine. He was dry from July, 2013 to Christmas but since then has kept relapsing. My husband are at our wits end and we are trying to decide whether to put him out of the house and I know he will have to go to a homeless shelter as its unlikely anyone else will take him in. And as there are so many drug addicts wandering the streets of Dublin I am afraid he will go on heroin. My husband and I go to daily mass and say the rosary and every novena going and attend counselling sessions. So far I feel that nothing good is happening and my husband are bickering with each other. Sometimes I feel that God is testing us to our limits and I am getting angry with God and the saints I pray to, as this had been going on for the past 14 years except for the three years our son lived in Australia/New Zealand. Is there any help for us? Desperate , Dublin, Ireland.

  7. S.C. Sanchez-DeLong
    1 year ago

    It is easy to preach of the light when one has not experienced the darkness.

  8. d salcido
    1 year ago

    St Jude. Help my fiance to overcome is addiction give him the strenghth he needs to fight the temptation and help him to find his light.

    Pray for us St Jude
    Pray for us St jude
    Pray for us St jude

  9. D. morris
    1 year ago

    Please speak to neuroscientists and neurologists about addiction and the brain and speak with addicts. Many addicts have mental health issues, are depressed, bi-polar or war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress who self-medicate. Genetics too plays a part in addiction. What may start out as a habit, can ultimately lead to dependency. No alcoholic starts off drinking a whole bottle. It's an slippery slope and can be likened to playing Russian roulette, because no one knows if they'll become addicted or not - although having other members of the family who are addicts is a good indicator Of course will power is needed, because you have to want to be free from addiction (some don't want to), but it's a battle that many will lose and with alcohol widely available at anytime of day or night, the temptation for some proves too great. However, with God's help, prayer and the intercession of Our Blessed Mother, along with the Angels and Saints, there are also many success stories. So before we judge let's remember. There but for the Grace of God go I.

  10. odelia bejarano
    1 year ago

    Pray for my grandson to overcome his drug addiction to marijuana.

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